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Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Quotable Babe Zaharias - The Greatest All-Round Female Athlete

The Quotable Babe Zaharias ... the Greatest All-Round Female Athlete 

Mildred Didrikson aka 'Babe' Zaharias (born on this day - June 26 - in 1911) can lay claim to have been the world's greatest all-round female athlete. She even took her nickname from being compared to baseball legend 'Babe' Ruth.

In 1931, she led her team to the Amateur Athletic Union basketball national championship, was a three-time All-American and once scored 106 points in a game.

Her performance of six wins in the ten events at the 1932 AAU Championships was enough to win the team prize ... on her own. She then won two gold medals (80m hurdles and javelin) and a silver (high jump) in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

In 1939, Time magazine extolled her unmatched range of sporting gifts as "... famed woman athlete, 1932 Olympic Games track & field star, expert basketball player, golfer, javelin thrower, hurdler, high jumper, swimmer, baseball pitcher, football halfback, billiardist, tumbler, boxer, wrestler, fencer, weight lifter, adagio dancer."

Later in life she took up golf and she won the 1946-47 United States Women's Amateur Golf Championships, as well as the 1947 British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship - the first American to do so - and three Western Open victories. In total she won 41 LPGA Tour wins - topped off by 10 Major titles.

In 1975 - 19 years after her death - Babe, a film based on her life, was released with Susan Clark in the lead role. In 1981, she was featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

In 1999, the Associated Press voted Babe its Woman Athlete of the 20th Century in 1999. A year later, ESPN ranked her the tenth greatest athelete of the 20th century - the hihest ranked woman.

Quotes by 'Babe' ...

"Before I was ever in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived."

"You can't win them all ... but you can try."

"The Babe is here. Who's coming in second?"

To a meeting of the LPGA in the 1940s - "You know when there's a star, like in show business, the star has her name in lights on the marquee! Right? And the star gets the money because the people come to see the star, right? Well, I'm the star, and all of you are in the chorus."

"That little ball won't move until you hit it, and there's nothing you can do for it after it has gone."

"It's not enough just to swing at the ball ... You've got to loosen your girdle and really let the ball have it."

On her breasts - "If I didn’t have these I’d hit it twenty yards further."

"There are times when a golfer is tempted to throw her clubs away and forget the whole humblin' business. At other times, she wouldn't trade places with a queen ... that's when the shots are long and true, and putts are dropping."

On rumours of her retiring from golf - "As long as I am improving I will go on, and besides, there's too much money in the business to quit."

"Winning has always meant much to me, but winning friends has meant the most."

"All my life I've been competing and competing to win. I came to realize that in this way, this cancer was the toughest competition I had faced yet. I made up my mind that I was going to lick it all the way. I not only wasn't going to let it kill me, I wasn't even going to let it put me on the shelf."

Quotes about 'Babe' ...

On Babe playing on the men's pro golf tour - "It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring."
Joe Williams in The New York World-Telegram

"Except perhaps for Arnold Palmer, no golfer has ever been more beloved by the gallery."
Charles McGrath in The New York Times

"She is beyond all belief until you see her perform...Then you finally understand that you are looking at the most flawless section of muscle harmony, of complete mental and physical coordination, the world of sport has ever seen."
Grantland Rice

"She was brave as a lion, as lovable as a lamb. She bragged, she swore, drank, but could be presented at court, comfort a nun, buy a fur for her mother or sew a dress for herself as well as the product of any finishing school. She was a roughneck with a basketball or a deck of cards in her hands. But she grew roses, raised poodles, danced at the White House and hung curtains like the dutiful Scandinavian housewife she was."
Jim Murray in The Los Angeles TImes

(1000 Humorous Sports Quotations exclusively by Women)
published by Blue Eyed Books

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